On Tuesday, Tapscape reported that Apple had instituted the unannounced last compatible version app download policy…
And, developers rejoiced. Well, not so much at first, but things are turning their way. On Tuesday, Tapscape reported that Apple had instituted the unannounced “last compatible version” app download policy:

Apple has done something very cool — old iPhone, iPad and/or iPod touch users can now download and use the last compatible version of an app from the iOS App Store. It’s a small yet significant change that extends the usable and, just as important, salable life of the company’s ubiquitous iThings.

In a nutshell, a user with an iPhone 3GS running iOS 5, for example, can now download the last compatible version of Twitter or Facebook they want from the App Store even though the current version of those apps (for the sake of example only) require iOS 6 or later.

However, as Tapscape and others have pointed out, the last compatible version policy is potentially fraught with technical and liability peril for users and, perhaps especially, developers (i.e. buggy, non-functional and perhaps even dangerous apps).

Whether Apple heard the developer outcry or just hadn’t fully rolled out their policy, there’s a new wrinkle in the story.

From the Apple Developer site:

Previous versions of your apps are now available for redownload by users who have already purchased them, allowing customers to use your apps with older devices which may no longer be supported by the current version of your app. If you do not wish to make these versions available, you can manage the availability of your apps’ previous versions in the Rights and Pricing section of the Manage Your Apps module in iTunes Connect.

So, developers can control which, if any, old versions of their apps are available via the App Store’s new last compatible version policy.

Has Apple done the right thing by letting developers off the hook or should the App Store allow downloads of all old apps?

Inquiring minds want to know…

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